Video has emerged that shows Spain head coach Jorge Vilda appearing to inappropriately touch a female staff member during the Women’s World Cup final between Spain and England.
Moments after Spain’s Olga Carmona scored the only goal of the game, giving La Roja the lead against England, the footage shows Vilda in a celebration embracing with members of his staff, including a female staff member.
When Vilda touches her, he first has his left arm on her shoulder in a hug. Then, as Vilda turns his head away from the group embrace, his left hand drops down to her chest. He keeps it there for a moment, and then lets go.
Despite Spain’s World Cup success, Vilda’s tenure as head coach – he was appointed in 2015 – has been hugely controversial.
The video clip comes against the backdrop of unrest between Spain’s players, Vilda and his coaching staff and the RFEF, which led to 12 of Spain’s biggest stars missing the World Cup.
In September 2022, 15 members of Spain’s senior women’s squad sent personally signed letters to the RFEF via email to announce they would no longer play for the national team, unless there were wholesale changes made throughout the coaching staff, as reported by Spanish media outlet Cadena Ser.
However, the RFEF backed Vilda, and all but three of the 15 players who sent letters missed out on Spain’s triumphant World Cup campaign.
Separately, on Monday, RFEF president Luis Rubiales admitted he “made a mistake” by giving Spain star Jennifer Hermoso an unwanted kiss on the lips after the 33-year-old received her gold medal following the team’s Women’s World Cup final win against England.
“Well, in a moment of elation without any intention of bad faith, well, what happened happened,” Rubiales said in a video with an RFEF watermark.
“I think in a very spontaneous way. I repeat, there was no bad faith between either of the two of us. From there, well, here we didn’t understand it because we saw something natural, normal and in no way, I repeat, with bad faith.
“But outside of the bubble, it looks like it has turned into a storm and so if there are people who have felt offended, I have to say I’m sorry. There’s no other way, right?”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has said the apologies of Rubiales are “not enough.” Answering questions from reporters on Tuesday, Sánchez said that “what we saw was an unacceptable gesture.”